Blockbuster has appointed Moorfields Corporate Recovery as its administrator, putting 2,000 jobs at risk.
Moorfields said there are already parties interested in parts of the business.
The DVD and games rental business, which has 264 stores, was bought by restructuring firm Gordon Brothers in March.
Gordon Brothers had tried to develop a new digital platform for Blockbuster but it was unable to broker a licensing deal.
It has also encountered “a period of poor trading” in rental and retail sales since its acquisition.
Simon Thomas and Nick O’Reilly of Moorfields are now leading the search for a buyer and the retailer is expected to trade as normal during its administration.
Thomas said: “This is obviously a difficult and upsetting time for everyone involved at Blockbuster, in particular employees who have endured a stressful period since January this year. We appreciate that staff and customers will want a speedy resolution, however, we must ask people to be patient over the coming weeks.
“We are pleased to say that there are parties who are interested in parts of the business. Our focus will be to secure a future for as much of the business as possible as well as trying to save jobs before Christmas. We remain committed to being open and transparent during the intervening weeks, and will ensure that all stakeholders, in particular employees, are kept regularly updated about developments.”